It’s no great business secret that sales and marketing departments are often at odds with one another. The problem usually starts with the idea that marketing and sales are needed at different points of the customer purchasing cycle.
This attitude that “we’re only responsible for our portion of the cycle” creates the feeling of being on two separate teams. Management needs to engage both marketing and sales in the entire cycle. This melding, dubbed “smarketing,” (snicker, snicker… love that word) puts everyone on the same team and gets results.
One of the biggest challenges will be opening up communication between the two departments. This requires two things:
- A company culture that welcomes transparency, responds well to criticism and invites feedback.
- A unified communications system that empowers employees with the right tech tools, such as cloud capabilities, audio, video and Web conferencing, collaboration software and email and instant messaging.
Both company culture and your communications tools should enable your employees to better understand the following factors that impact the purchasing cycle:
Many times, the sales force feels like marketing does not focus properly on the four Ps— product, pricing, place and promotion. Facilitate sales input on the company’s marketing efforts. This can provide insight that your salespeople obtain during direct interaction with customers, as well as help in determining the target market.
At this step, marketing wants customers to already be aware of their product, brand or business. This can be achieved with many different strategies, including content marketing, nurturing campaigns and competitive analytics. The sales team should be playing a crucial role in gathering information, raising brand awareness, creating referrals and market positioning through customer communication.
Oftentimes, this is the step where the lead hand-off takes place. Without a well-defined process for what qualifies as a good, sales-ready lead and how it should be handed off, many leads will end up as dead ends.
When a customer decides to make a purchase, they need answers to many questions both about the product itself and the purchasing process (such as return policies and warranties to reassure them they are making the right decision). Both marketing and sales need to be focused on value delivery. Bringing sales and marketing together to communicate and share obstacles, objectives and goals can help create a quality experience that overcomes customer concerns.
Once the sale is made, both sales and marketing should be involved in the post-purchase follow-up. Both sides need to work together to encourage referrals, ensure customer satisfaction, achieve customer retention, generate marketing data and turn customers into brand advocates. Ask customers to tweet or post on Facebook about their purchase or request a review of their experience with your company. It will help your smarketing efforts.
Over to You
Do any smarketing lately? Sorry, I just like the word, smarketing. hehe Really though, I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below on your success or failures when it comes to melding sales and marketing teams, so everyone is ‘playing on the same team’ so to speak.